I really enjoyed the first round of NASCRAG this year. Not as much as last year but we had a great DM who made the game fun.
I also brought more expendable income than most years so the dealer hall was fantastic. It seemed less crowded than last year for the most part.
The Cthulhu Wars miniatures are amazing! I bought way more than I reasonably should have.
The sculpting and painting seminars I went to were great.
I played three 5th edition D&D games and was underwhelmed by all of them. Two of my three dm's didn't use miniatures making combat a muddled mess. All three felt like they were phoning it in. They were there for the free hotel room and it showed. The room was WAYYYYYYYY too noisy. I had to strain to hear my dm and my fellow players.
After advancing to the NASCRAG finals, two of my friends decided not to play. One of the players I got stuck with was a young woman who insisted on roleplaying over top everyone. She just yelled over everyone and felt that it was ok because she was "in character." I had a headache an hour in. Beyond that, my zombie elf character became an elf again in the midst of the adventure making my character sheet all but worthless. Everything on it dealt with a zombie character. I had no idea how to roleplay him from that point on. We managed to place 6th overall (how, I have no idea). At the awards ceremony we got a stack of very cool prizes. I asked for just one book and said everyone else can split up the rest. So everyone grabbed everything including the book I asked for. Awesome. I just left.
It seems harder and harder to find good d&d games at GenCon. Maybe my standards are too high.
The Good: Jeez, so much to list here...
We avoided him like the plague, and had the most amazing three nights of Werewolf and met fantastic people.
The Good: Personally, I had a pretty flawless Gencon. Loved playing Werewolf once we "found our people." Loved the Rio Grande room - Kevin is a fantastic explainer and the guys who learned games with us were great (and great players). Loved playing Caverna and Star Trek Ascendancy. This year we seemed to meet really nice people everywhere. Weather was perfect for our hotel which was walkable but took a full 15 minutes to get to the Con.
The Bad: My husband and son were really disappointed with Pathfinder. The GM was not well versed with the game and told them she didn't know spell casters - so please choose other classes. My son wanted to be The Bard, but that was too hard for her to handle also (I guess there was some spell casting).... Then the other guy playing with them was one of those guys who doesn't stop talking and tried to force my son to be a character he didn't want to be...just a controlling kind of guy. They left feeling very frustrated.
The Ugly: Husband waited for Seafall Demo (for a long time) and then when the game was over, some guys cut in and the person giving the Demos said nothing. I'm not sure why my husband didn't make a fuss -- he was livid -- it really left a bad taste in his mouth (along with them being sold out before the hall even opened).
Over all, it was my family's best Gencon (and last year was pretty hard to beat). We felt incredibly sad leaving Monday morning.
My team (Something Witty and Clever) Has similar issues occasionally, since there's only four of us and we pick up stragglers every year -- sometimes we hit with amazing stragglers (like this year with our per-arranged straggler) and sometimes we miss horribly (like this year with our press ganged person who said maybe two or three words in the entire first round -- and didn't come back for round 2, but hey, he was a warm body and allowed us to compete, so that helped).
Without a full team of close friends, unfortunately, it's luck of the draw.
THE GOOD: Every event my daughter and I showed up for was an enjoyable experience with friendly players and GMs and a generally overall good experience. The lines at the food court restaurants always seemed to be quite light and the food was pretty good. The expanded exhibit hall was a great place to look for some great games and other merchandise.
THE BAD: Food and drink were overpriced. For 75 cents more you can get a full pizza for the price of a single slice in the food court. And soda was 2-3 times over what should be charged.
THE UGLY: I hear others praising the wider exhibit hall walkways and the flow of traffic through the convention hallways, but as someone who hasn't been to Gen Con since the first year in Indy, I found both of these to be extremely bad. It was a constant struggle to get anywhere in the hallways and especially the exhibit hall. I would say they need to increase the walkways in the exhibit hall by a third. What can be done in the ICC hallways? I have no idea, but it was always congested. Finally, I encountered many gamers walking by or talking in nearby tables who couldn't control their language. Tons of F this and F that and blaspheming my God. Absolutely no respect or control at all. I would expect that from immature teens, but not supposedly mature adults.
THE GOOD: Loved the extra space in the ICC and dealer room. There were still some chokepoints in the dealer room, but on a Friday, you kind of expect that. I too would like expanded hours for the dealer room, but as I was told back when I was working the Titan Games booth at Gen Con a decade ago, it's the dealers who set the duration, not the con. Marcus would've happily stayed open much longer, but the majority of the other dealers only wanted an eight-hour shift.
THE BAD: The Cosplay Deviants still skeeve me out something fierce. As a part-time artist, nudity doesn't bother me, but it felt out of place in the dealer room. Would've been happier if they had been over in the LOS with the rest of the anime events. The young lady who handed me a card was polite enough, but it still reminded me of when the Motor City Comic Con started allowing porn stars to get a booth and sell their wares. Just doesn't feel right to have them where there are kids walking around. I'd honestly be happier if Gen Con would have an 'adults alley' in the dealer room where security can shoo the kids away. :/
THE UGLY: Gotta side with tomjscott here, the foul language was definitely a turn off. If I was there with kids, I would've felt uncomfortable enough to get security involved. But the worst was Friday night when a cluster of young twentysomethings who had clearly been drinking somehow got into the LOS/ICC hallway and were making rude remarks to the people gaming there. Fortunately, they were just using it as a shortcut and left the ICC shortly thereafter. Would've been entertaining to see security deal with them, but better off with them just leaving.
Yeah, they have been coming for years. I can remember them even back to maybe 2010. Not sure before that. I don't see any reason for them to be pushed out of the exhibit hall though. They were never nude and none of the pictures showing were nudes. They were never in costumes that really went too far. I saw a few attendees wearing things more revealing than the Cosplay Deviants ever did. They were fun to talk to and it really shows that Gen Con is open to just about everything, including adult themed events
I do agree that they were not nude, and that there were other attendees wearing more revealing outfits, but as this group is DEFINITELY an Adult Oriented group, I just think it would be better if they were not in the main exhibit hall where children are. Also, their handouts need to have a statement on them mentioning that they are an adult only service. I am not sure Indy will be able to have a separate room/area for adult oriented content like this, but it may be something that could be looked into. Perhaps, like the artists alley, a section of the dealer hall could have an "Adults Only" section where parents with small children could avoid if they don't want their kids exposed to it yet rather than it be right in the middle of other displays.
As for the Exhibitor hall, i have often felt that with as TALL as those halls are, why not spread out into 2 levels...?
I love the Orc Stomp, hopefully we can get a few more volunteers next year so us runner volunteers can do the combo run and volunteer thing. Was a hot morning, but a really great group of runners. :)
This was the first year we decided to come in even earlier (Tuesday) and it was really neat to see Indy before the storm, as well as been able to finally check out some of the local attractions we never have time for, like the Zoo and the Children's Museum (who were giving 20% off to anyone with a Gen Con badge). We also brought two family members who had never been to a convention, let alone Gen Con before so it was neat to experience their wonder and excitement.
Like others, I felt there was more room to move in the dealer hall and it was welcomed.
Our group spent a lot of Saturday/Sunday playing demos of 11 Calliope games for buttons and a pin, which was a really neat way to get people to try your games but not run out of swag!
The RAM's feature pin up was Skarre, my favourite Warcaster so that was exciting.
I was pumped to find Chessex dice with unicorns on them.
I had John Wick sign my Ram sticker since my 7th Sea books shipped AFTER we left for Gen Con.
I won our group's escalator game (I guessed 8 escalators would be out of order between Thursday 9 AM and Sunday 4 PM).
I won the elusive Space Penguin in Giant King of Tokyo.
We never found time to get to the beer garden to try the 20 Sided Rye but we went out to Sun King Brewery and bought a pack to bring home.
My husband and I ran Orc Stomp (his third, my 4th) and we were able to beat 2 of the 3 raptors. The first raptor was amazing and I think ran a few circles around other runners to slow his time down.
I signed up for the corset pattern making workshop and the instructors were lovely and I would recommend them! However, I felt this class was a little too advanced for a beginner and would probably have been better suited for people with some knowledge of sewing (I have none!). Three hours wasn't enough to get through drafting two patterns, and I think it would have been better if we had only done one of the styles. I learned so much but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to use any of it (but I do have a pattern/measurements for a custom order).
Food was alright but nothing really stood out.
This was my 4th Gen Con and not only was it my first time I ever got a GM no show, I had a total of 3 GM No Shows. The first one was Thursday 9 AM and I believe there may have been a miscommunication because I stopped by the publishers later who apologized and offered to run another game time for us, which I unfortunately was unable to fit into my schedule. The second one had been cancelled in advanced but four of us had not been notified and waited around until we found out from HQ. The last one was on Sunday at 10 and there were 7 players, no GM and the gaming group had no idea if the GM was showing up, or who the GM was.
We stayed a little further out at the Sheraton and I noticed more pan handlers this year, but I am not sure if it is because we had to go a little further out than we historically had been.
All-Trills 1959: This is my Hero System game which has continuity from year to year. I had a great table and they accidentally got Vice-President Richard Nixon killed in the Soviet Union making him one of our country's greatest heroes and allowing me to really have fun with the timeline for next year's event.
Community Paranoia: I put a ton of work into this game for Gen Con 2015. I had four great players, but was a bit disappointed because there were a lot of things I couldn't do with players missing. I gave it one more shot this year and had an outstanding group. I even had to turn away four players, which I felt bad about. I always feel bad when I turn away generics. There will be a sequel next year.
JSA vs. King Kong: My players always amaze me in games like this. We played Thursday at 8AM and I had a group that was made up of a lot of old friends.
It's a Wonderful Death: A fun group for this silly Cthulhu game had Mr. Gower and Uncle Billy going insane and killing Violet Bick to pave the way for George to marry Mary. The players managed to preserve Pottersville, but at a definite cost.
The Hilton Gardens: About our fifth choice for hotel room, but it worked out pretty well all things considered and saved us about $500 over what the JW would have run us counting more expensive parking and food.
Harry and Izzy's: A great Pre-Gen Con meal with terrific service and a bread pudding that all future sweets will forever be compared to.
Can of Whupass: Always a highlight. Vince's singing vs. Curt's The Spock was a great battle of skilled taunters.
Marriott Staff: Thursday 8am games got moved from the Lincoln to the Colorado room so they stocked it with soda, energy drinks, chips, granola, and water. It was a nice touch.
Will: Terrific seeing him rediscover life 230 pounds lighter.
Indy Cab Drivers: Professional and courteous plus some great conversation.
The Ram: There are too many great bars in Indianapolis to put up with mediocre food, missing beers, and bad service. I will not be back there.
Marriott Rooms: 8 tables all running games in one room without anything even remotely sound dampening can be tough.
New King Kong: Discovered that I couldn't find my King Kong figure a week before the game and had to spend $66 on a new one for Gen Con. Ouch.
My Right Knee: I have spinal stenosis already so walks over 3 or 4 blocks can be a challenge, but I hurt my right knee the week before and my range was more like 2 to 3 blocks. The reduced range just sucked on bad days. I took a lot of those Indy cabs everywhere and even popping into the dealer hall was an impossibility this year. The knee was starting to feel better by the end of the convention so next year it will hopefully be ready for more hard core gaming.
My Memory: I'm 47 not 87, but wow. First, I had purchased fifteen $5 gift cards at Starbucks to use as Can of Whupass prizes only to forget them in my backpack back at the hotel. I had to buy replacements, which I will apologize for now if anybody here was stuck behind me in line. Then on Sunday I forgot my last set of tickets to be turned in and made everybody wait for me as I went through my backpack frantically looking for them by the creepy John Wooden statue.
When the real only ugly in your convention is you, you're doing alright. Thanks to everybody who played in my events this year. You definitely made the con a success for me.
I always lie reading this thread after Gen Con. Lots of fun memories with so many different experiences. The "Bad" and "Ugly" are typically minor in comparison to the good stuff.
Gen Con #19 with the love of my life
Orc Stomp - I was waiting for a friend at one point so missed a raptor ribbon by 20 seconds but it was awesome to watch my husband beat the last raptor by 1 second and see my friend Will finish his first 5k. I cried.
Harry & Izzy's - Thanks Mark!
First Watch - service was slow but the healthy food makes up for that.
The Old Spaghetti Factory - it was crowded but we had immediate seating in the bar.
Vendor Hall - was much more comfortable.
White River State Park and the Canal - it was awesome to see more people out during my runs.
Gate 10 - I know some had issues but I thought it was awesome.
Lucas Oil area - the video games did not meet the hype, the conference area was very sterile and it was so far from the main area that I think a lot of the cosplayers stayed in the ICC. I also heard some saying the lighting was bad. I think the concept is good but I think it is a work in progress.
Springhill Suites - breakfast could have been better. Turkey sausage only 1 day, no bananas or green ones, not prepared for the volume of people partaking. Elevators were so slow and you could only go down from rooms on stairs - not up. Maid service was non-existent one day. I used the app to request an extra blanket and am still waiting. A real fridge instead of the cooler unit would be nice.
RAM - that was a 3rd strike for them. Last Gen Con, the Mini Marathon in May and now. I won't be back.
Going home on Sunday. Last year we stayed until Mon and it made things much more relaxed
10th Gen Con in a row for me, 11th over all. Not the best ever, but still pretty great.
As others have said, it overall seemed much less congested this year. I had very limited dealer hall time built into my schedule, but I managed to see just about everything I wanted to see and spend most of my money in a couple of hours. I also did not have much trouble getting around in the ICC, for the most part.
Food--I became a vegetarian about a year and a half ago, so I rarely eat Convention center food. This year, I had a couple of meals at Noodles and most of the rest at food trucks. I was generally there early-mid afternoon, so I didn't really run into crowds. With one exception, food was excellent and there were always several trucks with tasty veggie options. I ate at Citizen Hash, Duos, and Island Noodles this year. Also had a few sit down meals at Yard House during the Con, and at Nada and Olde Spaghetti Factory during the week. Great food all around.
Breakfast--within the food category, but deserves a special shout out. Our group traditionally has Thursday breakfast at Le Peep, and this year was no exception. An excellent way to start the madness. As a bonus, I accidentally left my baseball cap there, and they held onto it until I could get back to pick it up, which wasn't until Monday. The other days, I picked up Panera for breakfast and brought it to our group's designated area in Hall A. Good quality, decent prices, and no matter how crazy it got, they were always smiling and friendly. One manager told me that Gen Con was their favorite convention, because attendees are so polite and understanding. I thought that was nice.
Orc Stomp--This was my third year doing the race. I'll be honest, it was tough. The first year, I did it, I'd been working a lot on lifestyle changes and had lost about 55 pounds over the course of a year. My time wasn't quite where I hoped, but I improved it the following year. Unfortunately, due to a lot of circumstances, I haven't been able to get to the gym much in the last few months, and I've lost a lot of ground. I was really embarrassed and nervous, but my husband reminded me that this was something I was doing for me, not to impress anyone else. I won't pretend I didn't have some moments when I thought of bailing, especially when it seemed like the entire field was ahead of me and I would never catch up, but I pulled myself together and finished in almost exactly the same time as the first year. Thanks to everyone who saw me and offered encouragement.
Role-playing--On Saturday, I went back to back with Ytcc and a BYOV LARP. Unfortunately, although I had a great GM for the Cthulhu event, I had a really hard time coming up with actions at times, so I felt I was holding the group back a bit. Also, my rolls were terrible, resulting in rapid loss of San, which made me even more reluctant to try to do anything cool. However, the other people I played with were amazing and enthusiastic, and I think we all had an excellent time. Even better was the LARP, It Came from a B Movie Backlot. I've only LARPed a couple of times, and I didn't have a preset character, but the organizers picked out someone perfect for me--an actress playing a slow zombie who actually IS a slow zombie, but is also a cursed princess from another dimension. Over the course of the game, I had to declare my love for my costar (reciprocated!), convince my cousin to accept our love, and find a source of brains. It was one of the best times I've ever had gaming, and the final wrap up (with Time Warp) was epic. Will definitely be LARPing again next year.
Quiet Room--I didn't get much sleep Thursday night, so after my Friday Green Stuff class, I was struggling. After seeking out some dinner from the food trucks, I was still headachy, so I decided to give the quiet room a try. I was in there 30-45 minutes, listening to music and just generally chilling, which was much needed. I still wound up canning my evening events and heading back to the hotel early, but I consider it time well spent.
Uber--This was our first year staying out by the airport, and we used Uber a lot. For the most part, the drivers arrived quickly, the vehicles were very clean, the rides were quick, and the cost was much less than a cab would have been.
No bags this year. Not upset about it, but a little disappointed to only get the coupon book this year. I didn't even pick up the Gen Con D6, since my shopping time was so limited. Not a big deal, though.
Lose the Fear Green Stuff class--I suspect this is meh more on my end than the instructor's. I had a hard time following his diagrams and carrying out his instructions. But I also didn't really ask for help, so some of that is on me. Plus, I learned some cool techniques and got some tools, so it wasn't a total loss.
Letter Tycoon--got hooked on this game last year, when the company was running a tournament in addition to normal events. No tournament this year, but I signed up for a game Thursday night. When I got to the table, it was obvious that at least two of the other players had played in the previous session. They were brothers and seemed to enjoy sniping at each other goodnaturedly. No big deal. The person running the game, after ascertaining that we had all played before, left us alone. One of the brothers was trying to advise me on strategy, which I didn't appreciate, because I know the game and have my own strategies. This same guy also corrected me on a rule...however, when I checked the rulebook later, I discovered that his interpretation was wrong and I had been playing correctly. In the end, I went out a little too early and wound up finishing second (behind the other brother). Probably didn't need to play that game.
Very little to report here. As I already mentioned, I didn't feel well on Friday and wound up skipping several events, including NASCRAG, which I hated to do. It was the right decision, but a bummer nonetheless.
The only other bad experience was with Ali Baba's Mediterranean food truck. I went there Thursday evening, so, admittedly, I might have been getting the end of the stock. I ordered the falafel and nothing else, because I figured that for $8, it would probably be big enough to at least make a small meal. Either I was wrong, or I was hungrier than I thought. Either way, there was entirely too much bread, and the falafel was dry without much taste. The tzatziki sauce was actually good, but didn't make up for the otherwise lackluster sandwich. I wound up buying a soft pretzel a little later because I was still hungry.
So that's the summary. The good more than outweighs the bad. Can't wait for next year.